Imagine, for a second, your perfect world. Aside from the free video games, abundant puppies, and pizza for every meal, there would be 100 percent peace on Earth. We’d all agree on the same political candidates. Opposing NBA coaches would share a banana split (not four-letter words) after a bad call. And Kanye West and Taylor Swift wouldn’t be engaged in a ridiculous on-again, off-again rivalry—they’d be inseparable BFFs about to drop the single of the century.
But the truth is, such a utopia could not exist! Actually, the world needs disagreements. Conflict is a totally natural, completely unavoidable part of life—and if done constructively, it can make you happier and more confident. “Disagreeing and standing up for what you feel is right in your heart is perfectly fine,” says Raychelle Lohmann, author of The Anger Workbook for Teens. “Conflict is how we grow—it challenges us to see someone else’s point of view.”
Now, could we humans be better at it? You bet. We get too caught up in winning out over each other, experts say, when really we should be joining forces to defeat the problem at hand. So we asked our Choices Teen Advisory Board about the conflicts that they can’t seem to stop encountering, then took their most common clashes to our panel of experts. Read on for advice that will help you navigate your next disagreement like a Nobel Peace Prize-winning diplomat.